Saturday, August 4, 2012

Campobello Island Plein Air Painting Workshop Report

Ragged Point

As my most recent Campobello Island plein air painting workshop comes to a close today, I thought I'd take a few moments to share with you some moments from the summer thus far.  It's really been a great season.  Although we've had a morning or two of showers and a little fog, most days have been full of sun.  For Downeast Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, it's what you'd expect.  And who really minds the fog?  It makes for some beautiful, moody scenes.

We've had students from as far away as France, Ontario and Texas plus some from closer places like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and, of course, Maine.  (Later this summer we'll have a student from Nova Scotia.)  Although I often get repeat students, I get many new ones, too, and they enjoy exploring the island.  For me, it's like seeing the island for the first time.  I'm always eager to hear about their whale watch tour, a hike they took out to Ragged Point or their lobster dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Everyone enjoys the workshop format.  We start in the studio with a morning lecture on plein air painting fundamentals.  Next, we move to the field where I do a short demonstration in either oil or pastel.  After that, students get to paint, and they always have at least two hours in which I go from easel to easel, offering help.  The following morning, I critique the paintings and talk about how they can be improved, and I use them to illustrate important points.  Everyone enjoys this "show and tell."  It gives them feedback not just from me but from the other students.

For our field sessions, we go to some pretty spectacular spots.  Liberty Point with its views of West Quoddy Head and Grand Manan Island is always a favorite.  When the tide is right, we can watch the seals hauling themselves up on The Boring Stone and Round Rock.  Another spot is the Head Harbour Lightstation.  The students often get so focused in their work that they miss the whales breeching and spouting just off the point!  They're always grateful, though, when I break their concentration and point out the whales.  When we go to the Upper Duck Pond, students are amazed at how much real estate is uncovered by low tide.  The tides are always a fun challenge, since the water goes up (or down) about an inch a minute.  In a two-hour painting period, that's 12 feet!

We still have a few weeks left in the 2012 season.  If you'd like to come to a cool place to paint, visit for details.   I've also put up the schedule for 2013.

Herring Cove

Friar's Bay

Friar's Bay

Roosevelt Campobello International Park
Boat Dock

Rockweed Study, 9x12, oil

Cranberry Point Fog, 6x8, oil

Boardwalk at Roosevelt's, 9x12, oil

Field Study, 7x5, pastel

Upper Duck Pond, 9x12, oil - sold

Head Harbour Light Sketch, 6x8, oil - sold

Rock Study, 5x7, oil

Tidal Stream, 6x8, oil


Cathydellinger said...

Hi Michael -
The past four days were amazing, especially yesterday when I truly felt the culmination of the past three days really came together. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and guidance. It was an amazing workshop and I'm intending to get back next summer.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thank you, Cathy! I'm glad it all came together for you. Keep painting!